Leiden lecturer: wearing face masks cannot be made mandatory, not even as an experiment

According to Leiden lecturer Wim Voermans, it is not possible to legally implement mandatory face masks, as it is against the constitution.

Today, certain municipalities expressed in the Security Council today that they would like to conduct experiments to see how to limit the virus, such as making face masks mandatory in busy areas.

However, Wim Voermans told RTL Nieuws that it’s simply not possible to do that. The Constitution forbids such measures, as he explained in state council back in May. “You cannot limit fundamental rights such as Article 10 – the right to respect for privacy – and Article 11 – the right to inviolability of the body – through an emergency ordinance. You can only do that through a parliamentary law.”

How come masks are allowed in public transport then? The reason is due to the Passenger Transport Act. Among other things, it requires that passengers must follow the instruction of the transport company when it comes to safety and order.

An option is for the parliament to pass a law. “Making personal protective equipment (such as mouth masks) compulsory in public spaces is only possible through a parliamentary law because of these fundamental aspects. A lower regulator like the city council can never do this.”

The other alternative is for the Netherlands to declare a state of emergency, as in other countries. “This way you can set aside the right to privacy. But the government apparently thinks that is going too far.”

Should the Netherlands pass a law making face masks mandatory? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Feature Image: DutchReview/Canva


Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.


  1. There’s a disease out there in the wild, with no cure yet available.

    It has 1-2 chances out of 100 to kill you, 3-4 chances out of a 100 to send you to intensive care, and 4-5 chances of out 100 to cause permanent damage to your lungs. It spreads easily through breathing, speaking and sneezing, and its numbers have been on the rise again in the Netherlands for the past 2 weeks.

    In the meantime, law professors and lawmakers are still indulging whether face masks should be mandatory in this kind of situation, whether such a mandate violates the Constitution, and whether they should declare a state of emergency.

    In other words, they’re out of touch with reality, they’ve never actually been to a hospital room in these months and haven’t seen how serious this disease can get, otherwise they wouldn’t be indulging in this legal nonsense during a pandemic.

  2. Oh most definitely it should be made mandatory by law to wear a mask and keep distance! The longer we are with the virus the longer everyone including our economy will suffer. Right now is not the time to complain about lack of freedom. We have too much freedom and a simple task of wearing a mask is even too much for some people. Personally I’d much rather live this beautiful life than getting sick and facing permanent organ damages or even death. And even worse, getting others sick. Please please please make it mandatory for the given time to wear a mask and keep distance. We cannot go into another lockdown or worse what the US is going through.


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